The Australian Government coat of Arms

Communities of practice

Communities of practice

Data dictionaries

The ABS has spreadsheets of standard country data such as 4 digit codes and country names.
As I am building an application that integrates 2 systems, one of which has to report data to the federal government using such codes. Is there an API that can provide me this data in JSON or other format, that is maintained by the government or ABS such that I can map declared country names in one system to standard country codes. I don’t really want to parse an XL spread sheet into a local database and have to preiodically check that the dataset is up to date ?


Hi @gusd - welcome to the community!

It looks like you’re referring to

ABS does provide an email subscription service to allow you to be notified when the product updates.

You could also submit a quote for ‘custom data’ (a JSON view of that Excel workbook) using their quote request form.

The dataset doesn’t appear to be very large or updated very often - an API might not be the best approach for ongoing access.

Hi @gordon.grace thanks for your response. From my perspective I believe this sort of reference data is the best sort of candidate for an API call, This isn’t the only reference dataset I need. I work in Education and we need reference data for Countries, Language Gender and Identity along with educational attainment. These data sets don’t change often, but do change. By the time you have pulled all of these diffrent references together there could be many alert notifcations that have to be configured. It would help the third party app developers to keep their systems consistent with the latest reference data in real time. Currently the world of higher/further education is moving to a whole new reporting interface with data that gets propagated across many government departments and portfolios…The reportable datasets required by government is still evolving…

Thanks for providing more context.

Looking at the ABS’ AusStats API and the Data Browser, I couldn’t see an obvious reference to the dataset you’re seeking, and I’m not sure how to derive a dataset identifier from the product name that the ABS API might recognise.

dataset identifier looks to be a core parameter from the SDMX-JSON specification.

@gordon.grace thanks for your help anyway

Have you also been looking at other OECD countries’ implementations of SDMX-JSON to source equivalent country code datasets?